Paul McBride’s review of the Disco ‘Tute’s “Science and Human Origins”

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“Science and Human Origins” (Amazon; Barnes&Noble) is a slim book recently published by the Disco ‘Tute’s house press. It’s by Ann Gauger and Douglas Axe, members of the Disco Tute’s Biologic Institute, along with Casey Luskin. The book is blurbed thusly:

In this provocative book, three scientists challenge the claim that undirected natural selection is capable of building a human being, critically assess fossil and genetic evidence that human beings share a common ancestor with apes, and debunk recent claims that the human race could not have started from an original couple.

In other words, down with common descent, and while we’re at it, a literal Adam and Eve could have been the ancestors of the whole human species.

And by three scientists? Ah, yes, I momentarily forgot that Casey Luskin got a Master’s in Earth Science before he went off to law school and then got a job with the Disco ‘Tute, where he is now listed as “Research Coordinator” (and is there called an attorney rather than a scientist). Once again, one detects a touch of inflationary credentialism.

Fortunately for me, I’m spared the chore of reading and critiquing the book. Paul McBride, a Ph.D. candidate in vertebrate macroecology/evolution in New Zealand who writes Still Monkeys, bit the bullet and did a chapter by chapter (all five chapters) review of the book. The book doesn’t come out looking good (is anyone surprised?). I’m going to shamelessly piggyback on McBride’s review. I’ll link to his individual chapter reviews, adding some commentary, below the fold.

Here are McBride’s individual chapter reviews:

Chapter 1, in which Ann Gauger

… questions the certainty that evolutionary biologists have in the notion of common descent, with the broad claim that it is merely similarity, rather than relatedness, that we observe. She tells us that certainly humans and chimpanzees share a number of common features, but so do (and this is her example) Ford Tauruses and Mustangs. Yet the latter are designed, indicating that similarity cannot rule out design.

McBride has some fun with that specious analogy, as well as with her ‘random changes in computer programs break the programs’ claim. Someone over at the Disco ‘Tute should tell Gauger to read up on genetic programming.

Chapter 2, in which Douglas Axe expands on Gauger’s Chapter 1, elaborating some arguments and finishing with the claim that unless we can identify each and every mutation between humans and our common ancestor with chimps, there’s room for a Designer. I dealt with that argument some time ago.

Chapter 3, in which Casey Luskin argues that the hominin fossil record is too fragmentary to infer the descent of H. saps like himself from a common ancestor of him and chimps. (Notice how I restrained myself? :)) Like all creationists, Casey has to draw the line between ancient humans (Homo) and earlier fossil (allegedly non-ancestral to humans) apes somewhere, and he draws it between H. habilis and H. erectus. (Recall that there’s considerable disagreement among creationists about just where that line ought to go. Casey is quite a bit deeper in the past than most.)

In an update to that post, McBride draws attention to a recent paper plotting brain volume against age of hominin fossils, essentially duplicating material in two posts on that topic by Nick Matzke here and here nearly six years ago.

In a recent post on Evolution News, Casey asserts

Hominin fossils generally fall into one of two groups: ape-like species and human-like species, with a large, unbridged gap between them. Despite the hype promoted by many evolutionary paleoanthropologists, the fragmented hominin fossil record does not document the evolution of humans from ape-like precursors.

Look at the graphs in McBride’s post and in Nick’s Thumb posts for data relevant to that claim. Nevertheless, Casey promises that he will be discussing the issue in coming weeks.

Chapter 4, on junk DNA by (earth scientist and lawyer) Casey again, gets a two-part review, a prelude which makes pre-reading predictions about what Chapter 4 will claim, and then the review proper. Casey comes through, fulfilling several of McBride’s predictions, including conflating “junk” DNA and non-coding DNA, a pervasive ID creationist habit. I rather like McBride’s conclusion to this chapter review:

Luskin here has continued in the tradition of the other chapters in this book by ignoring all of the best arguments that run contrary to his, while making previously refuted arguments with biased evidence, pretty much in line with what I predicted before reading the chapter. He presents no positive case for a pervasively functional genome, and has only set out to cast doubt on the concept of junk DNA. Even in this, he has comprehensively failed. The book is called Science and Human Origins, but the science is threadbare, and treated unevenly and unfairly.

Finally, Chapter 5, by Gauger again, is the culmination of the book, and can be seen as a rationale for accepting a literal Adam and Eve, a two-person effective breeding population sometime in our ancestry. McBride writes

To convince us of the possiblity of a literal Adam and Eve, Ann Gauger presents to us doubt over whether a single published paper from the 1990s truly supports a large human population since speciation.

McBride has a good critique, and one thing he mentions is kind of funny. In this chapter, Gauger accepts that two human haplotypes are ancient, in the 4-6mya range. But, of course, up there in Chapter 3 Casey argued that the boundary between us (non-descended from apes) humans and those apes’ ancestors is between H. erectus and H. habilis, a split that occurred around 1.8mya. Gauger accepts a ‘human’ trait as originating with critters that are more ancient than Casey is willing to admit as ancestral to humans (or maybe Gauger’s Adam and Eve weren’t humans (tee hee)).

In his conclusion McBride wrote:

I have been left wondering why the Discovery Institute, or intelligent design advocates in general, or biblical literalists feel a need to try and accommodate science when they have a belief in a supernatural entity capable of breaking natural laws. In the case of this book, it has left them needing to make all kinds of awkward criticisms of fields in which the authors clearly lack expertise. A lawyer is not the right guy to challenge the world’s palaeoanthropologists, nor the world’s geneticists. Certainly, he shouldn’t be trying to take them all on at once. It will end with him trying to smear the reputation of scientists rather than engaging with their ideas. Accusations that the entire field of palaeoanthropology is driven by personal disputes and that Francis Collins is a bad Christian are simply not compelling reading in a book that is putatively about scientific argument.

And the last paragraph:

Science and Human Origins has to be described first and foremost as being anti-evolution rather than pro-intelligent-design, or pro-science. If it offers solace to those seeking evidence against evolution for their faith, the solace should be as incomplete as the arguments made in the book.

Read all of McBride’s posts on this. He’s an articulate and knowledgeable guy.

113 Comments

Just to remind everyone of the scientific “credentials” of Luskin, take a look at this post from PT from 2008:

http://pandasthumb.org/archives/200[…]skin-ab.html

She tells us that certainly humans and chimpanzees share a number of common features, but so do (and this is her example) Ford Tauruses and Mustangs.

OK, what in a 1968 Mustang engine is a precursor to today’s silicon chip engine controls?

That’s right, nothing.

Similarity per se doesn’t show evolution without design, it’s the evidence of relatedness found in actual life that indicates relatedness. That’s why they always deal only generally with similarities, because they have no explanation for homologies, particularly the design-unpromising homologies found throughout life (why do vertebrate wings derive from terrestrial forelimbs of their ancestors in every case?), that “design” fails to explain at all.

So it’s the same old junk as ever, avoidance of the predictions of non-teleological evolution with which life is suffused, to attack the same worthless strawman and thus to avoid the fact that ID explains nothing while evolution explains the specific derivative patterns existing throughout life.

Glen Davidson

Yeah, Casey’s a classic case of inflationary credentialism.

And dammit, I threw trackbacks at McBride’s posts and got error messages on ‘em. Shucks.

I’ve always suspected that Casey ain’t no kin to no monkey. If he were, he would be able to reason better than he does.

You mean to say that they didn’t do an exhaustive literature review? Really? I wonder why? Why concentrate on a paper from 1990 when a much more recent paper has addressed the issue? Here is the reference:

Venema (2010) Genesis and the Genome: Genomic Evidence for Human-ape Common Ancestry and Ancestral Population Sizes. Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith. 62(3)166-178.

The paper was recently discussed here on PT, thanks to whoever provided me with the reference. It used evidence from modern comparative genomics to estimate the size of populations in early human history. No evidence for Adam and Eve was found.

And of course they also ignored all of the SINE insertion data, the chromosomal fusion data, the broken gene data, etc. Maybe that’s why they only found evidence for similarity, they ignored all of the evidence for common ancestry. Once again, I wonder why?

Why bother trying to fool those who are already convinced? Why not at least try to fool those who already know better? What? Oh … Never mind.

PS Robert still hasn’t answered questions about this paper from the last time he did a late night drive by. If he can’t be banned, he should be ignored, at least until he has provided evidence that he has read the paper.

Science has already shown the existence of a couple from whom all living humans are descended – think of Mitochondrial Eve’s parents. The problem for the IDists seems to be that they were far from the only two humans alive at the time. It does rather give the game away (again!) about their not-so-very-well-hidden agenda.

So much dishonesty or stupidity.

I’ll just comment on the obscene “toddler making random changes in a computer program” argument.

Let’s create a correct analogy.

First, the program has to have a great deal of redundancy.

Second, the toddler isn’t deliberately inserting random changes in the only copy of the program. The toddler is actually trying to copy out the binary digits correctly, but an occasional imperfection occurs with each copying.

The toddler is then taking each new copy and running it on a separate machine. Some of the new copies don’t run, many run the same way (although actually containing slight sequence changes), and a few run in a way which may be better, under certain particular circumstances.

I know this was alluded to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_programming, I just had to elaborate.

The exact number of paid members of the Biologic Institute is unclear http://www.biologicinstitute.org/people/ (Luskin is paid by the DI). Most of the people on the list are actually employed elsewhere. I’d love to know the budget - I’ve heard it quoted as anything from several hundred thousand to in the low millions per year. There seem to be relatively few paid employees, there seems to be remarkably little work being done even for the number of employees, and a strikingly high budget with all that considered. The tiny amount of work required to do things like put up a post on the web site and crank out recycled creationist pablum like this once every few years is obvious. Looks like Wingnut Welfare at its finest. I’m going to cynically assume that by far the biggest budget item is salaries.

I just provided Amazon with my “review” - “Any publication that claims that Adam and Eve literally existed - and then claims to be about science, not religion - is obviously bogus. But considering the source (the Dishonesty Institute) we already knew that.” Now to see if they publish it.

Paul Burnett said:

I just provided Amazon with my “review” - “Any publication that claims that Adam and Eve literally existed - and then claims to be about science, not religion - is obviously bogus. But considering the source (the Dishonesty Institute) we already knew that.” Now to see if they publish it.

Thank you. I may hold my nose and do an Amazon review. Meanwhile let me vent here about the HYPOCRISY

This book, to the extent that it is anything other than an uninspired make work project by a group of crafty toadying lickspittles, to make their doddering multi-millionaire donors think they actually do something with the money, is pure YEC code.

A bunch of simpleton “logical arguments against evolution” that a clever fourth grader could see through (deliberately vandalizing something isn’t the same as making a good but imperfect copy of it; the fact that beehives look similar to other beehives via common design is not an argument that all similarities in the universe are the result of deign by bees; the “they’re only similarities” we see are exactly the similarities that the theory of evolution predicts and we see them in molecular biology, biochemistry, cell biology, paleontology, etc), and then it’s straight on to “Adam and Eve are possible”.

But of course, you won’t find the words “6000 years old” or “Noah’s ark” anywhere in this book. That would violate the “always use very thinly veiled code because of Edwards v. Aguillard” standard, and violating that standard is not acceptable http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biolog[…]nvestigation (technically Weber even tried to use the code and was basically humiliated for having spoken at all).

However, the only possible person who would actually read this book for any reason other than to rebut it is a YEC. Yes, the majority of sales will be bulk purchases by right wing think tanks, and yes, those boxes will probably go straight from the receiving dock to the recycling area - they may not even open the boxes, let alone the books, at the Heritage Foundation - but if any reader is targeted, it’s an education-deprived YEC.

The whole point is to serve up YEC with a ridiculously small fig leaf of “plausible deniability”. Absurd.

Yes, the majority of sales will be bulk purchases by right wing think tanks, and yes, those boxes will probably go straight from the receiving dock to the recycling area - they may not even open the boxes, let alone the books, at the Heritage Foundation

I’d better not violate the “no unexplained satire on the internet” rule. This part of my comment was satirical in nature. Although I have heard credible, but not definitively confirmed, rumors about unopened boxes of mass-ordered books at right wing think tanks, that rumor was about Ann Coulter books, and I don’t have strong confirmation of it.

Your review is on the Amazon site. I gave it a “helpful” nod, but we’ll see how long it lasts. The previous 1-star review disappeared no doubt the result of a squeaky Gerbil.

Paul McBride has a super detailed review up on Amazon now.

Re Luskin’s quoted comment that:

Hominin fossils generally fall into one of two groups: ape-like species and human-like species, with a large, unbridged gap between them. Despite the hype promoted by many evolutionary paleoanthropologists, the fragmented hominin fossil record does not document the evolution of humans from ape-like precursors.

The best counterexamples to Luskin’s claim are the Dmanisi fossils. Their skulls resemble both the smaller Homo erectus skulls and the larger habilis skulls, and their brain sizes straddle the lower end of the erectus range and the upper end of the habiline range, they were bipedal, and they made primitive stone tools.

Luskin tried to explain them away a few years ago, but had to misrepresent the evidence outrageously to do it, as I documented here.

I note with interest Paul’s comment that Casey will be revisiting the issue of human evolution again in the next few weeks. Can’t wait to see whether he recycles his old misrepresentations, or comes up with some new ones. (It is, of course, mathematically possible that he will come up with some honest arguments, in the same way that it is mathematically possible to break the bank at Monte Carlo.)

And he [McBride] has a lovely response to Ann Gauger on Uncommon Descent.

Luskin’s discussion of human chromosome 2 is a joke. First of all, the fusion is not evidence of common ancestry– its the only cytogenetic explanation that makes sense if common ancestry is true. Secondly, Luskin and his experts seem to be surprised that there is less telomeric material at the fusion point than would be expected if the two chromosomes fused head-to-head. For some bizarre reason, they seem to think the fusion involved somehow gluing two complete chromosomes together, with complete conservation of all the telomeric material. But that’s not how centric fusions (a particular type of Robertsonian translocation) occur. This particular fusion involved two breaks, one in the telomeric region of each chromosome. Then the DNA repair mechanisms fused the two chromosomes together. But wait– what about the small pieces of telomeric material that broke off? They were lost because of the lack of a centromere for proper segregation. So…in a centric fusion with the breaks occurring in the telomeric regions, of which human chromosome 2 is an example, we would expect a NET LOSS OF TELOMERIC MATERIAL. Which is what Luskin and his toadies think shouldn’t be happening.

Its obvious Luskin and his minions have no idea how chromosome fusions occur.Yet here they are, pontificating about it to a scientifically illiterate public. They disgust me to my very core.

Dave Wisker said:

Luskin’s discussion of human chromosome 2 is a joke. First of all, the fusion is not evidence of common ancestry– its the only cytogenetic explanation that makes sense if common ancestry is true. Secondly, Luskin and his experts seem to be surprised that there is less telomeric material at the fusion point than would be expected if the two chromosomes fused head-to-head. For some bizarre reason, they seem to think the fusion involved somehow gluing two complete chromosomes together, with complete conservation of all the telomeric material. But that’s not how centric fusions (a particular type of Robertsonian translocation) occur. This particular fusion involved two breaks, one in the telomeric region of each chromosome. Then the DNA repair mechanisms fused the two chromosomes together. But wait– what about the small pieces of telomeric material that broke off? They were lost because of the lack of a centromere for proper segregation. So…in a centric fusion with the breaks occurring in the telomeric regions, of which human chromosome 2 is an example, we would expect a NET LOSS OF TELOMERIC MATERIAL. Which is what Luskin and his toadies think shouldn’t be happening.

Its obvious Luskin and his minions have no idea how chromosome fusions occur.Yet here they are, pontificating about it to a scientifically illiterate public. They disgust me to my very core.

Well a lawyer should be able to more properly interpret the data and draw a conclusion than the scientists who actually did the research and obtained the data. Can’t these guys ever learn another tune? Did they butcher the SINE data in the same way, or did they ignore it completely because they couldn’t understand the big words?

I’d really be interested in hearing their explanation for the comparative genomic data on humans, chimps and gorillas. I know what the authors concluded, I just wonder how these guys will “reinterpret the same data”.

And here we obviously have encountered the enlightened one, one Mr. Dave Wisker who actually does know something about chromosome fusions.

Hell, DNA repair mechanisms did it! Who would have thunk it? What’s more, the repair mechanisms are so good, that the repair outperformed the original model.

What a fantastic thing evolution is; how dynamic, how creative, how enterprising; all in it’s purposeless, rudderless wonder!

Bartender? I’ll have another one of those, please.

Dave Wisker said:

Luskin’s discussion of human chromosome 2 is a joke. First of all, the fusion is not evidence of common ancestry– its the only cytogenetic explanation that makes sense if common ancestry is true. Secondly, Luskin and his experts seem to be surprised that there is less telomeric material at the fusion point than would be expected if the two chromosomes fused head-to-head. For some bizarre reason, they seem to think the fusion involved somehow gluing two complete chromosomes together, with complete conservation of all the telomeric material. But that’s not how centric fusions (a particular type of Robertsonian translocation) occur. This particular fusion involved two breaks, one in the telomeric region of each chromosome. Then the DNA repair mechanisms fused the two chromosomes together. But wait– what about the small pieces of telomeric material that broke off? They were lost because of the lack of a centromere for proper segregation. So…in a centric fusion with the breaks occurring in the telomeric regions, of which human chromosome 2 is an example, we would expect a NET LOSS OF TELOMERIC MATERIAL. Which is what Luskin and his toadies think shouldn’t be happening.

Its obvious Luskin and his minions have no idea how chromosome fusions occur.Yet here they are, pontificating about it to a scientifically illiterate public. They disgust me to my very core.

SteveP. said:

And here we obviously have encountered the enlightened one, one Mr. Dave Wisker who actually does know something about chromosome fusions.

Hell, DNA repair mechanisms did it! Who would have thunk it? What’s more, the repair mechanisms are so good, that the repair outperformed the original model.

What a fantastic thing evolution is; how dynamic, how creative, how enterprising; all in it’s purposeless, rudderless wonder!

Bartender? I’ll have another one of those, please.

Dave Wisker said:

Luskin’s discussion of human chromosome 2 is a joke. First of all, the fusion is not evidence of common ancestry– its the only cytogenetic explanation that makes sense if common ancestry is true. Secondly, Luskin and his experts seem to be surprised that there is less telomeric material at the fusion point than would be expected if the two chromosomes fused head-to-head. For some bizarre reason, they seem to think the fusion involved somehow gluing two complete chromosomes together, with complete conservation of all the telomeric material. But that’s not how centric fusions (a particular type of Robertsonian translocation) occur. This particular fusion involved two breaks, one in the telomeric region of each chromosome. Then the DNA repair mechanisms fused the two chromosomes together. But wait– what about the small pieces of telomeric material that broke off? They were lost because of the lack of a centromere for proper segregation. So…in a centric fusion with the breaks occurring in the telomeric regions, of which human chromosome 2 is an example, we would expect a NET LOSS OF TELOMERIC MATERIAL. Which is what Luskin and his toadies think shouldn’t be happening.

Its obvious Luskin and his minions have no idea how chromosome fusions occur.Yet here they are, pontificating about it to a scientifically illiterate public. They disgust me to my very core.

You got a better explanation for the evidence twinkle toes? Thought not. Bar tender, cut this guy off.

SteveP. said:

And here we obviously have encountered the enlightened one, one Mr. Dave Wisker who actually does know something about chromosome fusions.

Hell, DNA repair mechanisms did it! Who would have thunk it? What’s more, the repair mechanisms are so good, that the repair outperformed the original model.

What a fantastic thing evolution is; how dynamic, how creative, how enterprising; all in it’s purposeless, rudderless wonder!

Bartender? I’ll have another one of those, please.

And yet, you not only can not present us any evidence of a magical, omnipotent, yet imperceptible Intelligent Designer magically poofing things into existence, you also insult and sneer at us over the very notion of trying to convince us with evidence, rather than appealing to us with your inane insults and unreasonable hatred of science and education.

Dave Wisker said:

Its obvious Luskin and his minions have no idea how chromosome fusions occur.Yet here they are, pontificating about it to a scientifically illiterate public. They disgust me to my very core.

Luskin and his cohorts are merely making appeals to ignorance at the faithful Ignorant For Jesus. I agree, it’s disgusting.

And poor SteveP is pissed off at us because we’re too smart to fall for Luskin’s inane deceptions. How pathetic.

Meh. The title of the book, like its contents, is just propaganda.

“There’s no there there.”

fnxtr said:

Meh. The title of the book, like its contents, is just propaganda.

“There’s no there there.”

One think that the proponents of Intelligent Design Theory would come up with something, anything, that would contain an explanation of how and or why Intelligent Design is supposed to be science.

But as Luskin, the rest of the Discovery Institute clowns, and the trolls here all demonstrate: they have neither the brain power, common sense, desire, nor understanding to want or to present such an explanation.

SteveP. said: Hell, DNA repair mechanisms did it! Who would have thunk it?

Uh, maybe scientists who OBSERVED karyotypic variation within species, which in many cases does NOT result in reduced fertility? For example, in goats and in marsh rats? Or subspecies like domestic horses (2n= 64) and Przewalski’s horse (66) which freely interbreed?

Or maybe the scientists who have OBSERVED karyotypic changes between species or sub-species known to be related, like the house mouse on the island of Madeira which in 500 years diversified into six “chromosomal races”, two of which have different chromosome numbers?

Or maybe the scientists who have OBSERVED karyotypic differences between species that everyone (even creationists) agree are related, like horses (64), donkey (62), and Zebra (32-46); or tapirs– Malayan (2n=52), Brazilian (80), Baird’s (80), and Mountain (76); or racoon dogs– Chinese (56) and Japanese (42)?

You’re right. Every time scientists REPEATEDLY OBSERVE AN ONGOING PROCESS OF CHANGE, the natural explanation is “it happened by magic”.

What’s more, the repair mechanisms are so good, that the repair outperformed the original model.

“Outperformed”? Apparently not. How does a creationist with 2n=46 outperform an ape with 2n=48?

David Klinghoffer has just dropped an ENV post accusing “Darwinists” of being too scared to engage with ID ideas. The problem being I am too obscure for my review of the book to have counted. He hasn’t read the review or anything, though.

Hell, DNA repair mechanisms did it! Who would have thunk it? What’s more, the repair mechanisms are so good, that the repair outperformed the original model.

SteveP,

DNA repair mechanisms are responsible for chromosome fusions.This is well-known and non-controversial for anyone familiar with modern cytogenetics and molecular biology.

Well a lawyer should be able to more properly interpret the data and draw a conclusion than the scientists who actually did the research and obtained the data.

Funny you should bring that up. Philip Johnson, at the dawn of the ID movement used to say that lawyers, being trained to analyze arguments, would be the ideal people to examine the claims of Darwinism.

Dave Wisker said:

Well a lawyer should be able to more properly interpret the data and draw a conclusion than the scientists who actually did the research and obtained the data.

Funny you should bring that up. Philip Johnson, at the dawn of the ID movement used to say that lawyers, being trained to analyze arguments, would be the ideal people to examine the claims of Darwinism.

I’m not a lawyer but will defend ethical, competent members of the legal profession here.

When ethical, competent law firms are engaged in a case involving science, they work with experts, and where possible, with lawyers cross-trained in related science. And they make an effort to intelligently follow testimony.

For example, the plaintiffs and Judge Jones in Dover.

paumcb12 said:

David Klinghoffer has just dropped an ENV post accusing “Darwinists” of being too scared to engage with ID ideas. The problem being I am too obscure for my review of the book to have counted. He hasn’t read the review or anything, though.

Putting up a blurb at a heavily censored site where no critical reply is possible, claiming that no-one can come up with a critical reply. Highly typical.

… questions the certainty that evolutionary biologists have in the notion of common descent, with the broad claim that it is merely similarity, rather than relatedness, that we observe. She tells us that certainly humans and chimpanzees share a number of common features, but so do (and this is her example) Ford Tauruses and Mustangs. Yet the latter are designed, indicating that similarity cannot rule out design.

Are we to think that the reason for the unquestioned similarities between humans, chimps, and other apes is that they all were purposefully designed to be similar? (Or is it that their designer(s) were similarly constrained by the laws of nature and the common materials they worked with?)

And are we to leave our kids with the idea that, in order to follow the purposes of their designer(s), they ought to behave like apes?

Rather than because they happen to be related, a little more distantly related to Binti Jua than to Torquemada, there is no implication that either of those should serve as their role model.

Hey, Paul, you’ve hit the big time when Klapptrapper insults you! In his usual doltish fashion Klapptrapper misses the irony of complaining that nobody reads creationist dreck and in the same flatulence complains that you read their creationist dreck.

Good on you, though, you stung ‘em good!

Creationism isn’t biologically evidenced strong and it was not otherwise strong(not that either) bio geography, anatomy, behaviorism , are not subjects dealing with living biology. They are still biological evidence. Creationists used lines of reasoning and their final conclusions needed assumptions of geological claims. Fossils wasn’t to them important but ever since its still not been very important.

My whole case is that creation is not true and couldn’t possibly have any biological evidence behind it therefore. So i pay attention, and try to get others, to the claims of biological evidence creationists put up. i’m not debunking the data itself but the claim their conclusions come from biological investigation. they come from elsewhere and even if true, NOT, but even if true they still ain’t the recoy of what they claim to be.

Yes i believe creation really can be wounded by close analysis of its claims to be the result of a science of biology. In fact, every real scientist has concluded that it is dead wrong, so let it die and stop beating the dead corpse of it.

DS said:

Creationism isn’t biologically evidenced strong and it was not otherwise strong(not that either) bio geography, anatomy, behaviorism , are not subjects dealing with living biology. They are still biological evidence. Creationists used lines of reasoning and their final conclusions needed assumptions of geological claims. Fossils wasn’t to them important but ever since its still not been very important.

My whole case is that creation is not true and couldn’t possibly have any biological evidence behind it therefore. So i pay attention, and try to get others, to the claims of biological evidence creationists put up. i’m not debunking the data itself but the claim their conclusions come from biological investigation. they come from elsewhere and even if true, NOT, but even if true they still ain’t the recoy of what they claim to be.

Yes i believe creation really can be wounded by close analysis of its claims to be the result of a science of biology. In fact, every real scientist has concluded that it is dead wrong, so let it die and stop beating the dead corpse of it.

Sure, brains don’t suffer enough from Byers’ own tortured manglings of epistemics, logic, and grammar.

Glen Davidson

terenzioiltroll said:

Robert Byers said:

I don’t think I’m pig-ignorant, a troll, or dishonest but i’ll leave that to the voters .

[…]

My whole case is that evolution is not true and couldn’t possibly have any biological evidence behind it therefore.

Ok, very nice. You almost got me.

Now: just which one of you, smart guys, is Robert Byers?

I don’t think anyone with the intelligence to pretend to be that stupid for that long could sustain such an incredibly boring sock puppet, without ever showing a hint of humor, irony or wit. He’s the exception that proves the rule Poe’s Law.

Robert Byers said:

Tenncrain said:

Rolf said:

Robert Said: Put down his book if one denies these geological assumptions. One should.

Robert, why do you think oil companies spend big bucks drilling for oil based on the geological “assumptions” that you say they should deny? Because the “assumptions” are wrong?

Or is it the other way around; the fact that those assumptions are of great value, the oil industry is proof they are correct, facts, not just any old “assumption”?

What you want to dismiss as mere assumptions never were; they were sound scientific reasoning based on facts that soon became evidence when subjected to scientific investigation.

So go ahead smart guy, study the facts, show they are wrong or shut up!

Robert Said: Put down his book if one denies these geological assumptions. One should.

Well, as has been explained countless times to Byers, both Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace mainly used evidence for evolution other than the fossil record within the rocks. At the time, they viewed the fossil record as too incomplete, so Darwin and Wallace instead used evidence like comparative anatomy of living species, behaviorism among species, and bio-geography. This goes to show that if there wasn’t a single fossil in existence, evolution would still be strong. Later on, fields like molecular genetics and evo-devo added more independent evidence, along with the filling in of many gaps in the fossil record (like the Tiktaalik fossils in far northern Canada).

It isn’t biologically evidenced strong even if it was otherwise strong(not that either) bio geography, anatomy, behaviorism , are not subjects dealing with living biology. They are something else.

Byers, you need to go to this link:

http://www.biology-online.org/dicti[…]s_of_biology

Tell the website administrators they need remove anatomy, ethology and biogeography from the list of branches within biology. BTW, ethology is the study of animal behavior.

Good luck with this, crackpot Byers. If the website doesn’t ignore you, be prepared to hear laughter. Hint: They won’t be laughing with you, they will be laughing at you.

Robert Byers said:

Darwin used lines of reasoning and his final conclusions needed assumptions of geological claims. Fossils wasn’t to him important but ever since its been very important.

You don’t know what you are talking about, again. Of course fossils were important to Darwin and Wallace. However, they felt the fossil record was too poorly documented to be of much use to support evolution (there were few exceptions, like the discovery of Archaeopteryx). So they generally relied on the other mentioned lines of evidence instead.

Have you started reading Sean B Carroll’s evo-devo book Endless Forms Most Beautiful (click here) yet? Remember, this book is a popular level book for the public. If you are reading it, please tell us about the vast mentions of geology in the book.

While we’re at it brain-dead Byers, are you ever going to answer the question why your particular Designer would intentionally put broken genes (such as the Vitamin C and hemoglobin pseudogenes) in the same places in humans and other primates? We especially want to know why these defective genes often have exact matching defects in humans, chimps, gorillas and other primates.

Oh, did you really think we didn’t notice that you ignored this part of the post?

We would be eager to see Byers do point-by-point criticism of this Christian oriented video (click here) which explains how the oil industry routinely finds oil deposits using bio-stratigraphy.

The link also has examples of YEC oil employees that were horrified upon discovering firsthand that their YEC beliefs were useless in finding oil.

Byers, This entry was about a response to a creationist book. Can we take it from your silence that you agree with Paul’s critique? If not where has he got it wrong?

MichaelJ said:

Byers, This entry was about a response to a creationist book. Can we take it from your silence that you agree with Paul’s critique?

Byers doesn’t give a damn about the book or the scathing critique: all he cares is a venue to troll his Invincible Stupidity For Jesus schtick in the hopes of magically impressing us with his anti-science inanity.

Scott F said:

Robert Byers said:

It isn’t biologically evidenced strong even if it was otherwise strong(not that either) bio geography, anatomy, behaviorism , are not subjects dealing with living biology. They are something else.

Robert Byers said:

Everyone should see it that way too.

Really? The study of the behavior of living creatures does not deal with living biology? What else could it possibly be? Dead animals and inanimate rocks don’t exhibit much “behavior” to study.

The study of “bio geography” is the study of how living creatures are distributed around the world. You say that isn’t dealing with “living biology”? What else could it possibly be?

The study of anatomy deals with how living creatures move their bodies and limbs. You say that isn’t dealing with “living biology”? Dead animals and inanimate rocks don’t “move” very much.

If a “living animal” is not “living biology”, then what in God’s creation could the term “living biology” possibly mean to you?

Black is not black, and white is not white. Why? Because I say it is so.

Dear Robert. Simply making shit up and lying is not going to convince any one that they should see it that way too.

No making anything up. Biology here is about the ability of biology and the reality of it to have changed from this to that. The living thing itself. Creatures locale, manners, or bone structures are not related to origins. tHese other subjects are simply invoked to provide evidence for evolution because its wanting in actual biological evidence. Theres no evolution going on right now in any biological entity.

Mary H said:

I love how Byers goes on about Darwin himself but doesn’t seem to know any more about him then what he has been told by his bible-banging buddies. Darwin had just finished his theological studies and was about to be ordained as a minister and assigned a church when he had the chance to go on the HMS Beagle. While on the ship he was sometimes teased for being too much of a Biblical literalist. Secondly he was much more interested in geology then biology and spent a lot of time looking for fossils in South America. So much for developing evolution and then using the fossils. He looked at a number of sources of evidence and then hypothesized an explanation that took all of what he had seen into account. He did not start from a position of Biblical denial he came to that conclusion only after years of looking at evidence. Robert if you are going to make comments about what Darwin did I suggest you do a little reading first. How about Desmond and Moore’s “Darwin, the Life of a Tormented Evolutionist”. Yeah I know wishing you would educate yourself first is like wishing to win the lottery. It happens but not often.

I’ve seen the Darwin story a million times. in accepting geology he already reject biblical creationism. He simply , I guess, was clinging to the accepted ideas of origins in the british anglican establishment. ihe had relatives who flirted in these ideas too.

his work does include the aggresive rejection of Gods creation of species. so he simply figured there must be another explanation. His later evolutionary idea came from rejection of the remnants of a God created biology. He didn’t out of nothing create evolutionary ideas but decided creationist ideas were wrong. First things first.

MichaelJ said:

Byers, This entry was about a response to a creationist book. Can we take it from your silence that you agree with Paul’s critique? If not where has he got it wrong?

His critique included questioning , as it always matters , who is a scientist and who is doing science in these things. I answered this point and it went from there. i just addressed this point.

Wrong, Byers. Utterly, maniacally, ridiculously false. Darwin was convinced of the ancient earth from about 1830 onward, as soon as he read Lyall and began observing geology for himself. Anyone who becomes aware of the facts of stratigraphy, sedimentation, faulting, folding, overthrust and superposition of denser strata over less dense, cannot deny that the earth is ancient. No other conclusion makes sense.

He observed the facts of biogeography - that species in isolated locations are often morphologically specialised variations on more generalised species found in the nearest non-isolated land mass. That distantly separated but similar environments have life forms that are different, yet fill the same niches. That small flightless birds are found only on distant oceanic islands that do not have mammalian predators. That invasive species, but not native species, can reproduce without checks, to the destruction of the environment and even their own.

He read Malthus, and understood that all living things produce more offspring than can potentially survive. He realised the necessary implication of this observation - that there must exist a competition among them for this survival. He observed artificial selection, and understood that all the offspring of all living things vary slightly from their parents, which variations can be selected and passed on. His great insight followed - that the competition for survival in a particular environment performs exactly the same selection function.

Put those understandings together, and that’s evolution. Evolution must happen. It can’t not. Tracing it backwards with the time available to the ancient earth necessarily implies common descent. Darwin and Wallace saw that. They recognised the truth of it. The observations are undeniable; their implications are inescapable.

Darwin agonised over that. Long after he had formed the necessary conclusions from the observations he had made, he grappled with his own religion. He was simply not able to believe that the earth was not ancient, because the evidence of his senses told him otherwise. He was simply not able to believe that all life was separately created, because his observations of fact denied it. Gradually, he realised that if the Church insisted that the Biblical account must be taken literally, then the Church was wrong.

He did not come to that conclusion lightly or gladly, and he came to it after he had sifted through the facts for many years. Still more did he regret his inability to trust in the benevolence or goodness of a God who worked by such methods. But that came later.

Byer’s thesis, that Darwin was motivated by rebellion against God and synthesised the Theory of Evolution out of it, is a flat straight lie that is contradicted by the historical facts. Byers lies.

Robert Byers said:

MichaelJ said:

Byers, This entry was about a response to a creationist book. Can we take it from your silence that you agree with Paul’s critique? If not where has he got it wrong?

His critique included questioning , as it always matters , who is a scientist and who is doing science in these things. I answered this point and it went from there. i just addressed this point.

So you agree that the rest of the critique is correct then?

Dave Luckett said:

Byer’s thesis, that Darwin was motivated by rebellion against God and synthesised the Theory of Evolution out of it, is a flat straight lie that is contradicted by the historical facts. Byers lies.

Once someone like Robert Byers starts with the blasphemous claim that the Bible is the Word of God, lying about everything else comes naturally.

No making anything up. Creationism here is about the ability of mythology and the reality of it to have never changed from this to that. The living thing itself is completely irrelevant to creationism. Creatures locale, manners, or bone structures are related to origins. tHese other subjects are simply not invoked to provide evidence for creationism because its wanting in actual biological evidence. Theres no creation going on right now in any biological entity.

See, it all makes perfect sense now.

I’m late to this party, and look forward to reading McBride’s review. In the meantime, please feel free to give away the punch line if it has been mentioned there and/or upthread. Since this book fulfills a post-Dover prediction that the DI will pander more to committed Biblical literalists*, do the authors directly challenge their own colleague Michael Behe on common descent, or not?

*At least the OEC and new-agey “what is time anyway” subsets. YEC followers of AiG and ICR will be disappointed.

Robert Byers said:

Scott F said:

Robert Byers said:

It isn’t biologically evidenced strong even if it was otherwise strong(not that either) bio geography, anatomy, behaviorism , are not subjects dealing with living biology. They are something else.

Robert Byers said:

Everyone should see it that way too.

Really? The study of the behavior of living creatures does not deal with living biology? What else could it possibly be? Dead animals and inanimate rocks don’t exhibit much “behavior” to study.

The study of “bio geography” is the study of how living creatures are distributed around the world. You say that isn’t dealing with “living biology”? What else could it possibly be?

The study of anatomy deals with how living creatures move their bodies and limbs. You say that isn’t dealing with “living biology”? Dead animals and inanimate rocks don’t “move” very much.

If a “living animal” is not “living biology”, then what in God’s creation could the term “living biology” possibly mean to you?

Black is not black, and white is not white. Why? Because I say it is so.

Dear Robert. Simply making shit up and lying is not going to convince any one that they should see it that way too.

No making anything up. Biology here is about the ability of biology and the reality of it to have changed from this to that. The living thing itself. Creatures locale, manners, or bone structures are not related to origins. tHese other subjects are simply invoked to provide evidence for evolution because its wanting in actual biological evidence. Theres no evolution going on right now in any biological entity.

And you do the exact thing you’re accused of: “making shit up”

Why is “origins” not relevant to Biology?

Only because you say so because you’re so desperate to pull any stupid thing out of your ass in your incessant attempts to magically disqualify Evolutionary Biology as a science.

So, if Creationism is so great, how come you constantly refuse to explain how and why it’s so great? I mean, beyond your really, really stupid, evidence-free, explanation-free “because I said so” assertions.

I Wrote:

YEC followers of AiG and ICR will be disappointed [with “Science and Human Origins”].

Whereas trolls who go out of their way to identify themselves as YECs (raising suspicion that they might be making that up along with everything else) will not be disappointed, as any anti-evoluion screed helps them get fed.

I have read the review of one chapter, and still don’t see an answer to my question above. Feel free to jump in.

Dave Luckett said: Byer’s thesis, that Darwin was motivated by rebellion against God and synthesised the Theory of Evolution out of it, is a flat straight lie that is contradicted by the historical facts. Byers lies.

Of course Byers lies - Byers is a creationist - all creationists are Liars For Jesus™. Keep that basic truth in mind.

C’mon, folks - get thee over to Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Science-Human[…]p/193659904X - and enter some reviews and comments to reviews. There are nine 5-star reviews and only three 1-star reviews (Paul McBride’s, mine and one other). We’re being out-gunned by the Dishonesty Institute’s sock-puppets. Help!

Paul Burnett said:

Dave Luckett said: Byer’s thesis, that Darwin was motivated by rebellion against God and synthesised the Theory of Evolution out of it, is a flat straight lie that is contradicted by the historical facts. Byers lies.

Of course Byers lies - Byers is a creationist - all creationists are Liars For Jesus™. Keep that basic truth in mind.

Including David Klinghoffer, Michael Medved and Ben Stein? How about Harun Yahya?

Frank J said:

Including David Klinghoffer, Michael Medved and Ben Stein? How about Harun Yahya?

No, no! They aren’t CHRISTIANS. They practice FALSE RELIGIONS. That means they work for SATAN!

Just Bob said:

Frank J said:

Including David Klinghoffer, Michael Medved and Ben Stein? How about Harun Yahya?

No, no! They aren’t CHRISTIANS. They practice FALSE RELIGIONS. That means they work for SATAN!

You got it backwards. All the Jesus religions are false, and everything else is true. Hey, I’m starting to get this “big tent” thing, and it’s cool.

I made a couple of goofs in my previous post, so we’ll try it again:

Robert Byers said:

Tenncrain said:

Rolf said:

Robert Said: Put down his book if one denies these geological assumptions. One should.

Robert, why do you think oil companies spend big bucks drilling for oil based on the geological “assumptions” that you say they should deny? Because the “assumptions” are wrong?

Or is it the other way around; the fact that those assumptions are of great value, the oil industry is proof they are correct, facts, not just any old “assumption”?

What you want to dismiss as mere assumptions never were; they were sound scientific reasoning based on facts that soon became evidence when subjected to scientific investigation.

So go ahead smart guy, study the facts, show they are wrong or shut up!

Robert Said: Put down his book if one denies these geological assumptions. One should.

Well, as has been explained countless times to Byers, both Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace mainly used evidence for evolution other than the fossil record within the rocks. At the time, they viewed the fossil record as too incomplete, so Darwin and Wallace instead used evidence like comparative anatomy of living species, behaviorism among species, and bio-geography. This goes to show that if there wasn’t a single fossil in existence, evolution would still be strong. Later on, fields like molecular genetics and evo-devo added more independent evidence, along with the filling in of many gaps in the fossil record (like the Tiktaalik fossils in far northern Canada).

It isn’t biologically evidenced strong even if it was otherwise strong(not that either) bio geography, anatomy, behaviorism , are not subjects dealing with living biology. They are something else.

Byers, you need to go to this link:

http://www.biology-online.org/dicti[…]s_of_biology

Tell the biology-online.org webmasters to remove anatomy, ethology (the study of animal behavior) and biogeography from the list of sub-fields within biology. Good luck with this, crackpot Byers. Unless you are ignored, be prepared to hear laughter. Hint: They won’t be laughing with you, they will be laughing at you.

Robert Byers said:

Darwin used lines of reasoning and his final conclusions needed assumptions of geological claims. Fossils wasn’t to him important

You don’t know what you are talking about, again. Of course fossils were important to Darwin and Wallace. However, they felt the fossil record was too poorly documented to be of much use to support evolution (there were a few exceptions, like the discovery of Archaeopteryx). So they generally relied on the other mentioned lines of evidence instead.

Robert Byers said:

but ever since its been very important.

Have you started reading Sean B Carroll’s evo-devo book Endless Forms Most Beautiful (click here) yet? Remember, it’s a popular level book for the public. Please tell us about the vast mentions of fossils/geology in the book.

While we’re at it brain-dead Byers, are you ever going to answer the question why your particular Designer would intentionally put broken genes (such as the Vitamin C and hemoglobin pseudogenes) in the same places in humans and other primates? We especially want to know why these defective genes often have exact matching defects in humans, chimps, gorillas and other primates.

Oh, did you really think we didn’t notice that you ignored this part of the post?

We would be eager to see Byers do point-by-point criticism of this Christian oriented video (click here) which explains how the oil industry routinely finds oil deposits using bio-stratigraphy.

The link also has examples of YEC oil employees that were horrified upon discovering firsthand that their YEC beliefs were useless in finding oil.

SteveP? As in Peterman? Tsk...

SteveP. said:

And here we obviously have encountered the enlightened one, one Mr. Dave Wisker who actually does know something about chromosome fusions.

Hell, DNA repair mechanisms did it! Who would have thunk it? What’s more, the repair mechanisms are so good, that the repair outperformed the original model.

What a fantastic thing evolution is; how dynamic, how creative, how enterprising; all in it’s purposeless, rudderless wonder!

Bartender? I’ll have another one of those, please.

Dave Wisker said:

Luskin’s discussion of human chromosome 2 is a joke. First of all, the fusion is not evidence of common ancestry– its the only cytogenetic explanation that makes sense if common ancestry is true. Secondly, Luskin and his experts seem to be surprised that there is less telomeric material at the fusion point than would be expected if the two chromosomes fused head-to-head. For some bizarre reason, they seem to think the fusion involved somehow gluing two complete chromosomes together, with complete conservation of all the telomeric material. But that’s not how centric fusions (a particular type of Robertsonian translocation) occur. This particular fusion involved two breaks, one in the telomeric region of each chromosome. Then the DNA repair mechanisms fused the two chromosomes together. But wait– what about the small pieces of telomeric material that broke off? They were lost because of the lack of a centromere for proper segregation. So…in a centric fusion with the breaks occurring in the telomeric regions, of which human chromosome 2 is an example, we would expect a NET LOSS OF TELOMERIC MATERIAL. Which is what Luskin and his toadies think shouldn’t be happening.

Its obvious Luskin and his minions have no idea how chromosome fusions occur.Yet here they are, pontificating about it to a scientifically illiterate public. They disgust me to my very core.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on July 8, 2012 1:12 PM.

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